Jazz icon Schilder mourned by many
Musical tributes mark jazz legend’s funeral
FAMILY and friends bid a final farewell to local jazz legend Tony Schilder yesterday, with some Cape musicians paying musical tributes.
Schilder’s funeral service was held at St George’s Cathedral.
His death followed that of a number of local musicians, including Vincent Kolbe, Hotep Idris Galeta, Robbie Jansen and Ezra Ngcukana.
Schilder – known as “the gentleman of jazz” – died aged 73 after a long illness.
He was a band leader at Club Montreal in Manenberg, had released his own albums (his latest, B Positive, in 2007) and contributed to many compilations.
Musicians Sophia Foster, Ian Smith, Richard Caesar and his son Hilton Schilder all paid musical tribute to Schilder at the service.
“Here’s to life, and all the joy it brings. Here’s to life; to the dreamers and their dreams,” sang Foster, whose voice rang through the church acapella.
Smith, who played one of Schilder’s melodies on the trumpet, said Schilder’s legacy would live on through his music and the happiness he brought to people.
“… His music stands the test of time,” said Smith.
Dave Alston, who played drums in a trio with Schilder in the 1950s, remembered his sense of humour – even in the face of the indignities of apartheid – and his natural gift for music.
He played by ear, and once told Alston: “If I ever played a number, I’d never forget it.”
Alston said even US music icon Quincy Jones had praised Schilder when they met at Sun City years ago.
“He signed an album for Tony that read: ‘Thank you for your artistry and great taste. In unity, Quincy’.”
He said the music scene in South Africa was “much poorer for (Schilder’s) passing”.
Schilder’s son Hilton played a two-part tune in honour of his father.
Singer Caesar said there was not a jazz musician in Cape Town who had not been influenced by Schilder.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how this man has influenced my life musically, and in a lot of different ways,” he said.
“He was a walking archive of jazz.”
Schilder leaves his wife, Val.
SAYING GOODBYE: Pallbearers escort the body of jazz musician Tony Schilder into the funeral service which took place at St George’s Cathedral yesterday.